This is an oldie but goodie however the information is still relevant. I’m in Los Angeles enjoying my family so check out my Facebook Fanpage for pics and tips from Los Angeles!
Paris is one of my favorite places in the world, but I’m guessing there are at least 5 things you probably didn’t know about Paris, this European city I called home for a few years. By the way, did you know I wrote a guidebook on Paris? Yep, you can get your copy here. The e-book is coming soon!
1. ALL CASHIERS SIT DOWN IN GROCERY STORES
This is very common in Europe and South America, but typically not seen in North America. The first time I saw this I was in Spain and couldn’t believe that the cashier was actually sitting down. And on top of that, they absolutely will not bag your groceries, you have to do that yourself. This is something I tend to forget and the last time I went to Paris I stood at the checkout counter for a few seconds looking at the cashier like she was crazy while she was giving me the same look back. I couldn’t figure out why she wasn’t bagging my groceries and she was probably wondering why I wasn’t bagging my groceries. And then it dawned on me, “Oh yeah! You’re back in Europe. You have to bag your own groceries!” I tried to explain to the cashier what I had just remembered but she just kept looking at me, annoyed that I was holding up her line. Ah…the friendly French.
2. THERE IS A STRIKE ALMOST EVERY WEEK
Seriously, I am not exaggerating, there is always a strike going on in Paris. This pic was taken on the Champs Elysses, the cops were striking. There were dozens of police cars lined up and down the Champs with their lights flashing and sirens blaring and traffic was backed up for miles. A strike, (or mani, as it’s called in Paris which is short for manifestation) can be anywhere, by any group of people at any time.
3. A FEW METRO LINES DO NOT HAVE DRIVERS
If you ride line 1 or line 14 in Paris, you will notice there isn’t a driver. It’s all handled remotely and the first time I got on it, I have to say I was a bit freaked out. It just seemed strange to be traveling at such high speeds with no one at the helm. And now when I go to Paris and ride either of these metros, I like to sit in the front car so I can get a great view of not looking at a driver.
4. THE MONA LISA IS VERY SMALL
When I first saw the Mona Lisa I was blown away. I really couldn’t believe it was so small because I had heard so much about it all my life, I expected it to be huge. When I first saw the Mona Lisa I was only 18 (so just a few years ago…hee hee) and I remember standing in front of it (at that time it wasn’t behind glass, you could stand right in front of it and touch it if you wanted, which was part of the problem) and really trippin’ out that it was so small. And where it is now in The Louvre, it is directly across from a gigantic painting so it really makes The Mona Lisa seem tiny.
5. YOU CAN HAVE A PICNIC BEHIND THE EIFFEL TOWER
When the weather is nice, you will see many French people sitting around The Eiffel Tower, usually on the Champ des Mars with their blankets, wine, bread, cheese and anything else they find appetizing to enjoy a lovely lunch or dinner outside. Anyone can do this, it’s not limited to French people. It’s especially wonderful when you are there in the summer and the sun doesn’t set until after 10pm, and you can hear and see all the people out on the Champs des Mars enjoying the daylight and atmosphere.